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I’m betting that if you or your friends travel often, then you’ve either personally experienced or heard horror stories about airlines losing a record number of bags. By now, most travelers know not to check a bag. But if you have to, then drop an Apple AirTag (or Samsung SmartTag for Android users) in your checked luggage to track it using your phone. Also, pack extra clothes, medications and valuables in your carry-on, put IDs (name, number and email) on the inside and outside of your checked bag, take photos of the contents of your luggage … I have a lot more tips for getting compensated if an airlines loses your luggage, which you’ll want to read.
It seems there’s story after story on the local and national news about lost luggage, including this morning on NBC’s Today Show where Tom Costello highlighted a couple of unlucky American travelers, including one traveling to Scotland for her dream wedding. Smartly, she brought her wedding dress onboard with her but everything else is lost and it’s been over two weeks.
Here’s one of the featured tweets:
— Tonia Moore (@toniathehuman) July 13, 2022
The most frustrating thing about all of this is the airlines are so short staffed they have no idea where the bags are or how to communicate the whereabouts with their customers. Another reason to use Apple AirTags or Samsung SmartTags. They are seriously the product of the summer for travelers.
Fortunately, I know of a little-known, inexpensive service that can come to your rescue if your bag gets lost in the chaos that’s plaguing airports around the world. The service is available at every single airport in the world and will do the airline’s dirty work for you. And if they can’t find your bag in time, they will pay you some serious cash.
Blue Ribbon Bags (BRB) service is a New York company that, for a $5 service fee, pays $1,000 for each bag lost by the airline after 96 hours (four days) missing—no receipts for baggage contents required. If you pay more, you get more. Paying $7.50 nets you $1,500 per bag, and $10 will earn you $2,000. They also have a yearly plan for $50. They don’t do home delivery but the airline does so they only guarantee your bag will be at the destination airport within 96 hours.
I just interviewed (watch on YouTube or listen to podcast)) one of Blue Ribbon Bags’ executives and it was an eye-opening 15 minutes as their service sounds too good to be true. CD Lazear, a South African who lives in Israel and bounces around the world to attend travel conferences and for other related business, told me all about how their service works, including how travelers receive live updates every time there is any change to their bag’s status.
BRB covers all baggage checked with the airline, including last-minute baggage checked at the gate and it doesn’t matter the number of connections or stopovers. All you have to do is sign up at least one minute prior to your flight’s departure. They don’t have an app so you have to sign up on their website. Full disclosure: I get a small affiliate fee but as you can imagine, at $5 a pop, I would need to sell a ton to make any real money so I’m writing about it because it’s a great service.
Three important things I learned in my interview with CD:
1. (13:00): CD says: “Don’t check-in a hard sided black suitcase.” It’s the most common type of suitcase in the world. It’s 22HW type and almost regarded as the default bag type. If your bag is missing, you don’t want to be the black hard one, you want to be the green one.”
2. (22:33): “Don’t leave the airport without a handwritten or a printed-out report with an actual number on it.” You have to insist on having a file reference number.
3. (25:07) There’s a ground tracking website in the U.S. called whereismysuitcase.com that once your bag lands in the U.S. you can see when it will be delivered. It will only appear when it’s scheduled for delivery.
Good to know: Blue Ribbon Bags works with some major players in the industry including: Virtuoso, Signature, Flight Centre Australia, Trip.com, CheapoAir and many more.